On 23 October, Taxi Charity volunteers were delighted to attend the dedication and unveiling of a Desert Rats monument at the National Memorial Arboretum.
The Taxi Charity was delighted to accept an invitation from Lt Col S P Copley-Smith, chair of the Desert Rats Association to attend the dedication and unveiling of a powerful Desert Rats monument at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Taxi Charity volunteers Brian Heffernan and Dean Euesden collected six Chelsea Pensioners from the Royal Hospital on Saturday 22 October and drove them to Lichfield for an overnight stay at Whittington Barracks. They were joined at the service the following day by Taxi Charity vice presidents, Frances Wyhowska and Dick Goodwin, and charity volunteer Michael Calvey.
The new memorial was unveiled on 23 October, the 80th anniversary of the second Battle of El Alamein and commemorates the British Army 7th Armoured Division, which saw distinguished active service during WWII in the western desert campaign gaining it the Desert Rats nickname.
After the service, guests enjoyed a buffet lunch and listened to an excellent speech from guest of honour, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB, OBE, DL, Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Brian Heffernan, London taxi driver and chairman of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: "Dean and I picked up Chelsea Pensioners, Arthur, Ted, John, Andy, Albert and Mick from the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Saturday and had a fantastic 36 hours together, attending the unveiling of the beautiful memorial to the Desert Rats at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. We stayed at the Whittington Barracks and would like to thank our hosts for their hospitality. It was truly a privilege to attend the dedication and unveiling."
Frances Wyhowska, vice president of the Taxi Charity, said: "It was an honour to attend the unveiling of the imposing Desert Rats Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum with six Chelsea In-Pensioners on the anniversary of the second Battle of El Alamein. The service was fittingly dignified and the monument is an impressive tribute to all those who bear the Desert Rats’ insignia, past and present."
Picture Credit: Dean Euesden